By Bryan Stauffer
After opening the 2013 season 2-3, the Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team (7-3, 5-1) has won five straight and five of their last six contests.
The Broncos’ last loss was against Cal State San Bernardino in the California Collegiate Athletic Association opener on Nov. 26, which capped off a disappointing 2-3 start to the season. They have since gone undefeated and currently sit in third place behind only undefeated Cal State Los Angeles and CSUSB.
A big part of CPP’s success has hinged on the performance of senior guard DeRonn Scott and sophomore center Jordan Faison, who are combining to average just over 30 points per game since Dec. 7. Scott has scored at least 13 points in four of his last five games and Faison has totaled 11 points in each of his last 5.
Newcomers Chad Haysbert, Jordan Finn and Quentin Taylor have each played large roles in pushing the Broncos into the top three in conference. Head coach Greg Kamansky noted the importance of getting consistent contributions from them with their experience and understanding of the game.
“Some of the guys that are new to the program are starting to play better,” said Kamansky. “Guys are starting to figure out what it takes to be successful at this level.”
Haysbert, a junior transfer from American River Junior College, is averaging 10 PPG over the last three games and has tallied seven rebounds in three of his last four contests. Finn, a junior transfer from Nevada, is averaging 8.4 PPG over the last five games and continues to provide a spark for the Broncos off the bench. Taylor, one of two freshmen on the team, is averaging 6.4 PPG over his last five and has been seeing the court a lot for the Broncos off the bench.
Kamansky is pleased with where his team is at in the earlygoing of the season, but continues to stress the importance of taking good shots and playing solid team defense.
“We are trying to key on [not committing] turnovers because that will hurt this team more than anything else,” said Kamansky. “We’ve got to limit our turnovers and finish open shots, and if we can do that we will be in every game.”
One player who has helped keep the Broncos in every game this year has been Faison. He is shooting 56 percent from the field this season and has taken on more of a responsibility this year as the team’s primary big man.
“Last year I was able to learn from the veterans of the team and just come off the bench and contribute and not be as big a focal point,” said Faison. “This year I’m just trying to take what I learned from last year and help my team win.”
It has been a transition for Faison to switch from a role player off the bench to the team’s starting center, but overall he feels the transition has gone smoothly, especially with the support of his teammates.
“Obviously, I feel that I have lots of room to improve my game in every aspect,” said Faison. “I just have to keep working hard. My teammates have helped me with this by instilling confidence in me and letting me know that they trust me and are 100 percent behind me.”
In their most recent games, the Broncos topped Cal State Monterey Bay, 60-40, and Cal State East Bay, 66-52, on the road, both of which locations have given the Broncos trouble in the past.
With CPP scheduled to host San Francisco State on Thursday and Sonoma State on Saturday, the Broncos will have to battle to maintain their winning streak and spot among the top of the CCAA standings.
“We’ve got a very tough schedule coming up,” said Kamansky. “This is one of the toughest conferences in the country. There are no letdowns.”
Broncos win fifth straight, move to 7-3
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